Raytheon has been awarded a contract by the US Navy to upgrade its Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS).

Work under the $115.5m contract, which is anticipated to be completed by September 2017, involves the remanufacture, overhaul and revamp of the system.

Claimed to be an integral element of the navy’s fleet defence in-depth concept and the ship self-defence programme, Phalanx is an anti-ship missile system that protects vessels and their crews from deadly threats, including standard and guided artillery, helicopters, floating mines and a range of shore-launched, anti-ship missiles.

The Phalanx rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar, including the 20mm gun system, is capable of automatically acquiring, tracking and destroying enemy risks that have penetrated other ship defence systems.

Currently deployed on the US Navy’s USS Independence (LCS 2) and USS Coronado (LCS 4), the SeaRAM missile aims to boost the inner-layer battlespace range of Phalanx against emerging anti-ship missiles, rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, and other threats.

"Phalanx is an anti-ship missile system that protects vessels and their crews from deadly threats."

When using improved Phalanx Block 1B sensors, the SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence system replaces the gun with an 11-round rolling airframe missile guide.

Last September, Raytheon was awarded a $136.2m US Navy contract to offer upgrades, conversions, system overhauls and related hardware for 19 MK15 Phalanx systems. This also includes the development of four SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence systems.

Raytheon has developed over 890 SeaRAM systems, which are currently used by the navies of 25 nations.

Image: The SeaRAM missile system equipped on a vessel. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy.

Defence Technology